Alon is Co-Founder of Crypto Invest Summit. He is an investor, speaker, host and leader of one of Southern California’s largest group of investors and entrepreneurs, 805 Startups, with a laser-focused eye on building and supporting startups and entrepreneurs..
A pioneer in the crowdfunding space, Alon had been involved in over $200 Million Dollars in online investment transactions. He has developed technology that powers websites and financial transactions for Fortune 500 companies and well-known foundations such as Coca-Cola, American Express, ATB Financial and Global Philanthropy Group. InvestedIn, Alon’s previous company, created a white label fundraising portal for individuals and businesses hoping to crowdfund ventures independently of major platforms. Later, his support of the JOBS Act, online media expertise and day-to-day interactions with venture funds, investors and financial professionals inspired him to create a solution to market hedge funds, real estate funds and venture funds to investors over the internet.
Before InvestedIn, Alon worked for entertainment tech giants such as Amazon, IMDb and MySpace where he managed customer experience, product development and support. InvestedIn was named “Best Marketplace Platform” by the Los Angeles Venture Association in 2013 and he was named to the Socaltech 50 for his work with InvestedIn. Alon is a thought leader on social enterprise, venture capital and crowdfunding, and has spoken at SXSW V2V, Kingonomics and many other conferences and been featured in prominent publications including Forbes, WSJ, Washington Post, TechCrunch and VentureBeat.
Hey everybody, it’s me again, Adam Chapnick with the Security Token Academy. Thanks for being with us tonight. I am here at our second LA area meet up. Technically our third LA area meet up but our second LA meet up. We’re here with friend of the show, the one, the only, Alon Goren. Thank you so much for being with us.
Thank you for having me.
Alon is an important member of our community in many ways. You were one of the two master minds behind what is now called the legendary CIS, the Crypto Invest Summit.
We’re adding legendary to the title of the event.
Oh so it’s now LCIS.
The Legendary Crypto Invest Summit.
Do I get to share in some of that for having named it?
Okay, good. We just wrapped it up not long ago. This was the, I guess technically second CIS, but fourth or third ...
Yeah. It was the fourth event.
Because we originally called it Crowd Invest Summit and crypto ate us. Which was perfect because we sort of intentionally let it eat us because we were obsessed with it. We had been mining cryptocurrency since 2012 ourselves. We’re nerds for the space. When the opportunity arose we didn’t run away.
Which is great. You come at this from a couple of angles. You have this incredible event that you do now in LA every year but you also have been sort of a bedrock of the investor community in the LA area. How have you seen that the sort of genesis of this security position space from those two vantage points. What have you noticed.
If we go straight to security tokens I think it’s sort of a culmination of all these things. We know the crowd funding space from back in the day and that was ... I feel like the ICO space started to touch on what we idealistically were hoping would happen with crowd funding.
It became the wild west and it became ... We joked right before we came on. I said, “How shady is shady?” when I talked about the companies that we meet at these things. Technically now I feel security tokens is taking the excitement. Taking the good part of digitizing assets, and making it more professional and kind of keeping people accountable and doing it right.
Yeah, for sure. Have you noticed anything in the investor side in terms of sort of an evolution maybe from where there was equity crowd funding after the JOBS Act. Then there was this sort of hiccup which was positive and negative of the ICO explosion and now we’re in the security token phase. How have investors viewed that evolution?
I think investors that are really serious saw the ICO space as kind of ridiculous and what it was, speculative and just nuts. Some of them participated because within that crazy world there’s a lot of gems and some really interesting stuff and killer technology but I think that they’re all pretty excited about companies doing it legitimately. I was just talking to a company on Security Token Academy. You guys broke when Circle bought SeedInvest, right?
I’m talking to one of the companies that’s about to launch a campaign on seed invest and they’re a crypto company and in their documents it’s going to say, “When we, or if we, issue a took you’ll get this amount. That’s fully compliant security tokens that investors are legally allowed to participate in. Technically nobody knows if they are even legally allowed to participate before. Many funds completely avoided it because it would have made them default basically on their LP agreements. They weren’t even legally allowed to participate. This is now a real industry from a legitimate perspective right? We don’t always want to follow all rules and say that just because the government says it’s okay it’s okay, but now at least for the large majority of investors in the United States the government says it’s okay if they do it right.
Yeah that’s exciting. From your perch where do you think the adoption is going to happen. Right now, it’s early, early days. Those of us who have been in it have been talking about it and talking about it for years now but really still we’re kind of waiting for the real investment opportunities to come online for there to be liquidity. Where’s it going to happen first?
If we just go industry wise I think gaming is going to be really exciting. It’s not going to be on the security token side as much. There are games that are raising money security token wise and stuff like that but in terms of just mass adoption of people understanding what a crypto wallet is. WAX and OPSkins and the games that they put on, that’s going to be really exciting. I think it’s actually going to be the first people who do it without anyone knowing that they’re buying crypto or buying into a blockchain product.
Somebody that creates a killer product that works and you never know. One of the folks that were at the summit was a company called EOS links. They put together a crypto wallet and they have a DAP store within their wallet. You use that and we actually let people buy tickets to CIS through that app. You wouldn’t know that it’s a crypto wallet if you didn’t know that it was a crypto wallet. Obviously it’s EOS links and you know it’s crypto wallet but the product works and it’s fast and you don’t have to wait 30 minutes for a confirmation and it doesn’t break half of the time you try it. That’s exciting. I think that’s what’s going to happen soon is you’re going to find real products that actually work.
You’re going to play a game and then you’ll find out that that unique thing that you got is actually a unique thing. We’re not going to be talking about Myspace Farmville from back in the day. We’re going to be talking about real actual products that really work and digital baseball cards that are actually unique and there might only be one of them or there might only be 100 of them. They could actually be cryptographically proven that there’s only one. That’s pretty rad.
Oh definitely I love that. The 721s the ERC721s, we talk about it all the time. The Pokemon cards.
I prefer Magic cards.
You say Magic, I say Pokemon. What do you think about commercial real estate? There’s been a little bit of talk about the Saint Regis in Aspen. There was a building in the East Village in New York that tokenize a 30 million dollar little building. There’s been some excitement around that but kind of the wave hasn’t broken yet. How do you think that’s going to go.
I love it. If they can make it even slightly more seamless than the average real estate crowd funding site, I’m 1000% for it. I think it’s actually going to be, if we talk about security tokens versus ... Oh yeah, hey, welcome to Security Token Academy. We’re going to talk about real estate tokens. No, but, we’re talking about security tokens. We’re talking about real estate. Real estate security tokens are definitely 100% going to be the leader in getting adoption in the space.
You think so, for sure?
I know it 100% because think about crowd funding, equity crowd funding started. I can convince you maybe and I can convince a couple of the people in this room to invest in my company if I create a security token, right? I can convince my mom to invest in my security token. Now try and convince my mom who’s probably the right age for the average person that has money to invest in a deal.
In commercial real estate.
In a commercial real estate deal especially but in general there’s a very small percentage of this country that can afford to invest.
That’s a good point.
They’re probably average age higher up. Now try to convince your mom, everybody watching, convince your mom to invest in somebody’s company on the internet that they’ve never met before. That’s the stupidest thing in the world to think it’s going to be possible. It’s much easier to think that, “Hey, Mom, you know Judy and Hannah and the ladies you walk to the corner with every single morning and you get a Starbucks coffee on that corner, you know you could buy a piece of that Starbucks? The building that the Starbucks is in and every month when Starbucks pays their rent you’re going to get $10 into your bank account. You want to buy a piece of that for 1000 dollars?.” That’s an easy sell. It’s an easier sell. That can be sold programmatically through Facebook ads if Facebook would ever allow it.
Just like a crowd funded real estate deal works that’s not going to happen with, “Hey, Mom, you should buy a piece of polymath.” What the hell’s ...
Friend of the show, polymath. That’s interesting because that was the promise of, if you remember, Fundrise. It’s a great equity crowd funding platform. Their early sort of angle was exactly that. It was invest in the business on the corner and we’ll build communities that way. It still has some fidelity to that but it’s kind of expanded out of there. That was definitely the idea. You’re echoing what they thought is that that’s how people are going to get involved.
What do you think about things like you’ve talked about the 721s. Well you indirectly talked about that. What do you think about things like wine or fine art? Is that a real thing or is that just a fun thing people talk about and it’s never really going to happen.
The fine art side there’s an existing business of fine art dealers and investors and people. If you can amplify that process by digitizing everything and creating immutable contracts or whatever you would call it, that makes sense. There is counterfeit stuff. There are organizations whose full time job it is to verify that that stuff is real so this should be able to help their process, right?
For sure. That’s underlying the whole industry but what about the idea of there’s a new ... or maybe an old ... Picasso or something. I’m never going to be able to buy a Picasso but I do read that last year the Picasso sold for 30 million dollars and this year some guy bought it for 56 million dollars. It would be great to get that kind of return. What if I bought one 7000th of that Picasso? Is that a thing? Maybe it wouldn’t be the 30 million dollar Picasso but ...
I mean it should be. I truly believe in that stuff.
I mean we go back and a lot of us have known each other from previous lives. The reason why we all got into the space or at least one of the big reasons we all got in the space was the possibility of leveling the playing field. To give everyone access to everything. I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s not fair but it’s kind of not fair that only certain people can get into certain things because there is a barrier to entry and it’s not studying. It’s literally just having a certain amount of money.
Some people just can’t. You’re raised in different ways and different cultures and different places around the world and you can’t participate. If there is a way for everyone to participate in everything through this and they’re not being gouged by things like MoneyGram or places that charge them 12% to send money across the world or to send money to somebody. They could actually do it fairly. That would be an epic world changing thing. I love that. I would love to own a piece of a Picasso and I would only be able to buy the one 700th of one as well so I would love that.
Democratized access. Yes, we love it. Always great talking to you.
Thank you for having me.
Good luck with everything you’re working on. Thank you for being a part of the community.
Thank you sir.
We love you baby.
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